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In a book excerpt published on Friday, lead Apple designer Jony Ive says he was worried he would be fired when Steve Jobs returned to serve as the company's CEO in 1997.
The excerpt, hosted by Fast Company, is from Becoming Steve Jobs, a biography due to be released on March 24. It was written by Brent Schlender and the executive editor of Fast Company, Rick Tetzeli.
Ive is reported to have been nervous when Jobs first came to visit him at the Design Lab, thinking that a replacement had already been picked. "That very first time we met, he had already started to talk about reengaging Harmut Esslinger," one quote from the designer reads. "He came over to the studio, I think, essentially to fire me." Esslinger is the founder of Frog Design, and helped design the Macintosh.
Ive adds that he felt like he deserved to be fired, because Apple products shipping at the time "weren't very good at all." When Jobs came back to the company, he cancelled unsuccessful products like the Newton, and fired people he considered irrelevant to the company's future direction.
Jobs would later tell Schlender that he "liked him [Ive] right away." The Apple co-founder further suggested that his predecessor, Gil Amelio, had "wasted" Ive's talent.
Under the new leadership Ive was put in charge of Industrial Design, and became instrumental in the creation of products like the iMac, iPod, iPhone, and iPad. In more recent times, he has assumed control of both interface and hardware design.